Sandra Ridley has received the bpNichol Award, the Alfred G. Bailey Prize, and was twice short-listed for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry (once for a collaborative manuscript with Amanda Earl). Her first book of poetry, Fallout, a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Publishing. The 2012 winner of the IFOA’s Battle of the Bards, she is an instructor of poetry at Carleton University.
Before running on nightshade & wormwood in a topiary maze.
Before hawthorn punctures her arm : poison tipped.
Before a peck of stones, she handpicks or pockets,
she is camphor-doused
by a fold of wool : wet & held tight to her eyes.
Before his screen & clips & the red light & darkening, his hands pressed
to his switchboard & mirror : apparatus of the in-out & charged.
Before her fluoroscopic diapositive &
the smell of two kinds of heat.
Nothing left hidden in her body.
Before & after, there is only this : four corners to a room
& the others pounding at the door.
For all the corruption in her body :
she is linen wrapped
& straight-jacked under his muslin tight sack
as salt stains her throat
& down leather strapped by collar bone.
Behind un-papered walls
she is held
& suspended – not heavy & dragging
or veiled by sulphur
light & swinging.
Fully encased in his plaster cast,
she is strung from above for a fortnight :
blood on her bitten lip,
a lick of rain
on a boarded window, her aberrant crack